mNu? What's New?
The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy From Avotaynu

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 33 | August 26, 2018

Every government puts value on preserving its history. That is why we have national archives. Genealogy preserves history; the history of a family. It cannot be done without access to records, just as historians cannot preserve a nation's history without access to records. It is a greater good than the right to privacy. It is a greater good than the risk of identity theft.

Past issues of Nu? What's New? are archived at
Underlined words are links to sites with additional information.

If You Wish You Had Attended the Warsaw Conference But Didn’t
Try Conference ON-DEMAND!
If you missed the Warsaw conference but found some of the lectures of interest, check out ON-DEMAND! The ON-DEMAND! package allows viewing video recordings of 40 conference sessions. You can watch the presentations on-demand—that is, whenever you like. The sessions will stream to an internet-connected computer, tablet or smartphone. Cost is $209 to conference non-registrants. Registrants might consider buying the service for lectures they missed. Registrant cost is $179.

Addition information including how to register, can be found at iajgs/annual/2018/on-demand_about.cfm.

Summer Issue of AVOTAYNU
The Summer issue of AVOTAYNU will be mailed to subscribers next week. The lead article is the keynote speech at the Warsaw conference by Brandeis University Professor Anthony Polonsky updated by events since he gave the talk. Titled “Coming to Terms with the ‘Dark Past’ Confronting the Holocaust,” he discusses the controversy of the level of complicity by non-Jews and Eastern European governments in the Holocaust. The next two articles focus on cemetery research.

All told there are 14 articles plus the usual columns: From Our Contributing Editors, U.S. Update, Ask Dr. Beider About Names, Book Reviews and From Our Mailbox. The “Ask Dr. Beider About Names” column is becoming increasingly popular. In this issue he evaluates three different inquiries about family surnames. The “From Our Mailbox” column includes a letter from an AVOTAYNU reader that counters the article in the Spring issue which implied you cannot prove that no one’s name was changed at Ellis Island.

The complete Table of Contents is at If you do not subscribe to AVOTAYNU, you can do so at

David E. Rencher New Family History Library Director
FamilySearch Chief Genealogist, David E. Rencher, has been appointed director of the Family History Library. He will serve both roles. His expanded responsibilities will also include regional FamilySearch Centers and guest experiences in more than 5,000 family history centers globally.

If there is any person in the U.S. to be awarded the title of “Mr. Genealogy,” it is Rencher. I worked with him for 15 years when I was on the Board of Directors of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Rencher is a visionary—a person of unusually keen foresight. When he previously was Library director from 1999–2002, he recognized the growing importance of the internet and instituted a program to add more computer terminals at the Library. During his tenure as Library director, FamilySearch started digitizing their microfilm collection. He implemented the idea of presenting conference lectures on the internet, the LIVE! option.

Expect new, innovative happenings within the FamilySearch library system.

The formal announcement of his appointment can be found at

“Do You Have Errors Hiding in Your Family Tree? Here’s How to Find Out”
If you have been adding to your family tree for a number of years, there are bound to be a few errors made when you entered data. Or perhaps your evaluation of a piece of evidence came to a wrong conclusion. Family History Daily has written an article, “Do You Have Errors Hiding in Your Family Tree? Here’s How to Find Out,” which addresses the problem—and provides potential solutions.

Many genealogical software programs check the reasonableness of the data. For example, regarding dates, whether the following are reasonable: age when married, died, at time of birth of child and age difference with spouse. The article can be found at

Library and Archives Canada Updates
Finding Aid 300: Other Census and Related Documents (1640 to 1945)

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has created an expanded version of its research guide, Finding Aid 300: Other Census and Related Documents (1640 to 1945). The tool is a comprehensive guide to early census and related records found at LAC, with references mainly dating from 1640 to the 1800s. There are also some records from the 1900s, including Newfoundland and Labrador from 1921 to 1945.

New to this version are links to digitized images of most of the documents. The announcement can be found at

JDC Places “Jerusalem 1944–1952” Collection Online
The American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has placed online documents from its Jerusalem 1944–1952 Collection. The collection chronicles the vast relief initiatives overseen by JDC’s Jerusalem office in the aftermath of World War II in the Yishuv/Israel and internationally.

In glancing at the documents, they appear to me mostly correspondence. In some cases, there are lists of persons. To get to the actual documents is cumbersome. Click the “Look Inside” tab successive times. It will lead you to collections, sub-collections, record groups, subjects, series, contains, folder and finally documents.
The announcement can be found at

UK National Archives Adds Alien Registration Cards 1918–1957
The UK National Archives has added a new online collection of registration cards for more 600 immigrants to Britain who arrived between 1918 and 1957. They cover the London area only and include British-born wives of aliens who lost their British status upon marriage.

Additional information, as well as the search engine, can be found at

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 2 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, nearly 2 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. Those identified with a dagger (†) are Christian-only records. They include records from Dominican Republic, France, Honduras, Iceland(†), New Zealand, Portugal(†), Russia(†), Ukraine(†), Wales, and the U.S. states of Delaware, Georgia, North Dakota, and Ohio.

Most notable for persons with Jewish family history are the addition of nearly 1 million index records to the collection of Ohio, County Naturalization Records, 1800–1977.

Note that at the website, announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later date. Also note that counts shown in the announcement are the number added, not the total number available in the collection, which can be greater.

News From Ancestry
Ancestry UK Offering Free Access to UK/Irish Collections Through August 27. Ancestry UK is offering free access through August 27 to their one billion UK and Irish historical records. Go to

Updated Collections This Week. Ancestry has updated the following record groups at their site. Note that they do not indicate how many entries have been added. Announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later date.
   • Massachusetts, Boston Archdiocese Roman Catholic Sacramental Records, 1789–1900
   • Australia, Newspaper Vital Notices, 1831–2001
   • Sweden, Indexed Marriage Records, 1860–1947

Do You Subcribe to AVOTAYNU?
Each year AVOTAYNU publishes more than 300 pages of useful, interesting information about Jewish family history research that can help you in your research. Now in its 33rd year, an index to the first 24 volumes is available to all the major articles.

Published quarterly, our contributing editors from 15 countries throughout the world regularly gather important information that appears in our issues. Our publishers, Gary Mokotoff and Sallyann Amdur Sack, are on a first name basis with officials at institutions containing genealogical data throughout the world. 
Some institutions are U.S. National Archives, U.S. Library of Congress, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Leo Baeck Institute,  Yad Vashem and  Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People.

Subscirbe now at

Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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